Thursday, October 24, 2013

Late Joys

Is this the Island of Runaway Moms?

When my now-grown daughters were little, there were days I out-snarled Oscar the Grouch, wept, or yearned to drink wine in the middle of the day.  On one of the bad days, I phoned my mother.

 “You’re not thinking of running away, are you?” she said.

Running away? I hadn’t realized that was an option.

“No, I’m not thinking of running away. Am I the kind of person who runs away? Also, where would I go?”

 It’s not as if Islands of Runaway Moms existed and Cheap Caribbean offered four-day/three night getaways to them.

Luckily for me, parenting’s good days outweighed the bad. Usually. More importantly, parenthood got easier. (Sometimes that doesn’t happen until kids are adults, but we all have to look forward to something, right?)

Eventually, the child who won’t let anything but Cheerios and mashed potatoes touch her lips turns into a foodie and scouts out restaurants for you to try. The one who insists all slumber parties be held at her house because other people’s bathrooms, food, and rules make her anxious, morphs into a world traveler.

Recently, I viewed my adult daughters in new-to-me ways. Late last week, Hubs and I went out of town. On Friday evening, Older Daughter checked my house and fed the cats: the elusive Smokey, needy Scout, and oh-so-friendly Lucky. Later that night, I texted her. “Was everything okay with cats and house?”

Here’s what she texted back: “Yup. Smokey even hung out. We watched WHAT NOT TO WEAR. Not that he needs any pointers, being perfect and all.”

I laughed and laughed. Admittedly, there’s a genetic component at work here, and not everyone responds to cat-oriented humor. In my family, apparently it doesn’t skip a generation. Hallelujah!

On Saturday, Younger Daughter took photographs of a friend and me. Friend needed updated shots for a website and Facebook. I need them for a writers’ group website and this blog.

As Younger Daughter bobbed and stretched to get the best shots, I marveled at her ability to put her subjects at ease and nudge us into showing our best sides. She became invisible behind her camera. The shoot wasn't about her.

Parents hope kids grow up to be responsible adults. When they turn out to be people we not only love but enjoy spending time with, that’s lagniappe or a bonus. 

If I’d known all those years ago what I know now, I’d have taken fewer aspirin and avoided the whole teeth-grinding thing. Those fantasies about running away wouldn’t have made it beyond the suitcase-packing stage.

Parenthood get easier and becomes a lot more fun.


Jennette Marie Powell said...

One of my friend's main life goals was to have her kids grow up to be people she enjoyed spending time with. Happily, she realized that goal. So did I - and glad to see you did, too!

Lark Howard said...

Nice post, Pat. When parents accept their children as adults, there can be such a wonderful relationship. I'm glad you have that with your daughters.

Liz Flaherty said...

This is so nice. It's where I'm at with my family, too--including the cat humor--and it makes me so happy; I hope they like it, too. However, I think it would have been nice if one of mine was a photographer. :-)

Coleen Patrick said...

Really nice post, Pat. :) I think I see glimmers of this, and that's nice to know since I'm in the middle of what I recently heard termed, The Goodbye Years. Not sure I like that term, but it's nice to know there can be a Hello I'm an Adult Now stage!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
We're the lucky ones, and luck IS involved. Soon your daughter will be home for Thanksgiving break. Enjoy every minuter.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark,
My parents are accepting, so I am, too. Good parenting repeats that message and passes it on. Fortunately, those whose parents expect clones of themselves can find approval, elsewhere. You, Lark, are a gifted writer and good friend.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Liz!
Some people want their kids to be doctors or lawyers. One of my daughters has a way with words, and the other has a good eye. I'm thrilled with that combo. The writer daughter makes her living writing. The artist daughter sells jet fuel. (As we know, the latter's creative side eventually will out.)

I finished A SOFT PLACE TO FALL and loved Early, Nash,Ben, Sarah, John David, and, well, I loved all the characters, except one. You know who I mean. Thanks for the wonderful, warm read.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Coleen, your kids might be at the "Goodbye for a little while" stage. They may separate geographically, but they'll stay linked emotionally. Know what? We parents may need a bit of separation to be able to see and appreciate the adults our kids have become.

Karen McFarland said...

You know Pat, I hated when my sons left. We were really close. But you know what? Our relationship only got better. Even though we now live a distance away, we take off where we left off. And you have daughters. I am jealous. You'll be best friends. You wait and see! :)

Alarna Rose Gray said...

Thanks for this snapshot into parenthood! One of the best things about growing up (speaking as a child now) is getting to see it from the parents' point of view. (And I love how you never even thought of running away!)